Friday, June 30, 2017


This week we have been learning to cut slots in blue steel which is the last set of  skills to learn before the winding stem exam is upon us. It has thrown up some interesting challenges and many frustrations!

The Agathon machine earned its keep this week as we all were grinding our slot gravers to the required dimensions and shape.
Reshaping broken hard metal drills into slot cutters. Knowing the rake and clearance angle is key to make a good cutter.

To complete a winding stem we have a lot of pre-excercises to do, like square filing and slot cutting.  There is no secret for us, just practice and practice. 
Practice makes perfect.

It's our first time to see cows chewing leafs on the tree. Haha~~
While the weather this week in Le Locle has been tumultous and the cows have run for shelter we are glad for the cool air streaming through the workshop
Thank you Svenja! She made a delicious cake for us to celebrate CJ's birthday. The cake is really GOOD.

Friday, June 23, 2017

More filing and turning plus a visit to EPHJ

This week we continue doing our pre-excercise for winding stem. The second thing we learn is that we use a file to file a cylinder piece into a square. As usual, we start with a brass piece which is an easier one and then a steel one. At first , we learn some unique techniques from Henrik and then use the techniques to hand file a cylinder piece. It is really difficult to finish the square piece with great   flatness, finishing, and to dimension. However, it just need more practice to accopplish it, and it feels really great when you conquer all the issues to know now we can also do it. 

In addition, there is a huge exhibition in Geneva this week, and it's all about watchmaking tools, machines and watch conponents. This is the first big exhibition we went to,and everything is new for us. We went to the exhibition on Thursday, and it's a great chance to meet some people and do some social networking. We saw lots of cool automatic machines which are for big companies for mass production, but it's still interesting to get the idea how the big companies make their watches now. The more attractive things for us is to see some special supplier which provide nice movements, cases, and small conponents. We met some of them and talk to them to know their designs and their vision for their companies. We may have a chance to cooperate with them in a near future for our school project. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Turning over a new leaf

This week we were all very exited to begin turning on the 8mm lathes. so much so that grinding the gravers was almost a pleasure. the pain in our hands has mostly gone and it is now second nature to keep our gravers razor sharp.

we began learning the 8mm lathe by turning the most fundemental cuts on it, male, female cones, shoulders, cylinders etc.

we also learned proper maintenence and disasembly of the lathes, all of us treat our lathes as if they were our own babies.

We are lucky to have Brad and Charles come back to share their work and bench test experience with us. They are in Switzerland doing research for their own watch brand. 
One of Felix's favorite part of the courses, hand turning. He is really enjoying it, here he is preparing the gravers before turning.

Before we start turning, we have to do some exercises, grinding our own gravers. 
It's the best time to have conversation with ourselves. 
A good watchmaker not only take good care of the watches, but also his own tools. Flatness, straightness, and keep the true diamond shape of the graver is also very important. Good job, guys.

Felix servicing his lathe.

Lathe disassembled for inspection cleaning and oiling.

Friday, June 9, 2017

New Stuff, Jig Boring not Boring

   This week the weather is really bouncy in Le Locle. The temperature goes up and down and sun also plays hide and seek. We learned our last large machine - Jig Boring machine (important machine in watchmaking) for tool making. The machine also called pointing machine is known for its precision and  fullfils most of the needs for professional watchmaking. If you want to become a professional, you shouldn't miss it ;)
   As usual, Henrik showed us general introduction and safety requirements when operating the machine. After that, each of us has to perform required mission including centering, scribing, drilling and so on  under Henrik's supervision to show our basic understanding of it.
Learning how to read the vernier correctly

Stan practices scribing a square. 

Felix drilling holes in required location.
Sif used jid borer to locate the points according to drawing.
Yiting double check the drilled hole with microscope to confirm the exact location of it. 

CJ used lathe to perform milling. He makes the screw according to his own design.
Shuai and Eddie start preparing for their final exam with repairing moden movements. The final exam is pretty tough with Henrik's high standard. We must be well prepared before the exam.

Next week is the deadline for our hand-made tools, and only finishing them remains. It would be better if we could finish them because there are lots new stuff to learn after next week..

Friday, June 2, 2017

"The grill" Korean food, visit from Australia, Serbia and a filing exam

    Last week was our first intermediate filing exam, we didn't update the blog because everyone of us was really exhausted after the week. Henrik gave us two trial exams before the official one. Some of us felt a bit frustrate after the trial, because we DID NOT FINISH IT. :(  Thanks to Henrik, he gave and shared us some useful adivices and his personal experiences. That helps a lot, the second trial most of us make a huge progress, we not only finished the work piece but even better than expected. It helped us build confidence for the real exam.

Weekend before the intermediate exam is our first International Food Festival. Thanks Felix, to be the first one prepared the Korean cuisine for us. Students from Taiwan did not have rice or Asian food for a while. It's really comfort food for them.

Last week we also took advantage of the nice weather to have BBQ on the mountain. The view is really fantastic and heal our wonded mind after the trial exam.

Svenja said: This is the best look of the SWISS BBQ hot dog. And CJ said: Yep, when the hot dog become the octopus. 

What a lovely family. We should have this kind of BBQ more often, to enjoy the beauty of Switzerland and food.

Breathtaking view from the top of the hill, where we can see the Apls and the Mont Blanc.

We were lucky to have Oliver visit us, who is a watchmaker from Australia he was sent to Europe for forteen weeks training. He shared a lot of his working experiences and encouraged us to keep sharpening our watchmaking skills during these two years for the furture life long career. Oliver also encourage us to consider Australia as an option to develope our career's  Hope their goverment can change the VISA policy for the professional watchmaker in the future. :p
Oliver is a very easy-going and nice guy to talk to, everyone likes him.
Shuai is black polishing screws for his restoration project.

Nikola, from Serbia, attended the taster course this week. Hope he enjoyed the week with the filing, polishing, movement operation and us.  
The escapement wheel of Felix's spring detent escapement. 
Eddie decorate his crown wheel with sun ray finishing.